Sunday 22 February 2015

A day in the life at four months

A few bloggers, including Sensitive Ginger, inspired me to do a day in the life.

The day was Thursday, February 19th. AJ is 16 weeks, going on 4 months.

6:00am, Mr. Turtle's alarm goes off. I wake up, tuned into AJ as usual. She sleeps in the Halo Bassinest by the side of the bed, which means that she is at eye level with me all night. I love it and am not looking forward to her outgrowing it, which she is going to do soon. AJ is stirring a little. Swinging her head side to side, smacking lips, giving signs of waking up and being hungry, but not exactly committed to being awake. I'm a bit unnerved, because her last feeding was just after 11pm, so she's slept around 7 hours. I'm surprised that I slept quite deeply too; I didn't "surface" to check on her multiple times. I kind of wish I had. (edit: 7 hours a longer than usual stretch; it's usually more like 5.)

6:17am: I decide that I will get up and feed AJ, although she's not completely awake. She eats from both boobs with a diaper change in between. Shortly before 7 we say goodbye to Mr. Turtle who leaves for work.

Back to bed. We both wake up again around 10:00am, and I feed AJ from one boob. I put her in her crib in the nursery (she has naps in it but hasn't slept the night there yet). We have back and forth babbling, giggles, squeals. AJ does her "happy crunches" where she pulls her knees into her chest and grins.

I put away a basket of clean baby laundry as well. AJ has a lot of clothes. A few I've bought her, but most are gifts. I don't think of being a mom as a job, but if I wanted to have a job title I could be AJ's wardrobe consultant. I'm always washing her clothes, going through them to see which are outgrown and which she will soon grow into, and then sorting them into the correct cubbies. Yeah, I'm a bit of an obsessive organizer. The one thing I don't do is fold. And of course, every day I figure out the coordinated outfit for the day.

I give AJ a quick sponge bath on the change table, and get her dressed. She tries to eat the blanket, her hands, the soap, whatever.

I have a shower with the bathroom door open. When I'm done I hurry out, still in the nude, to check on AJ. It's about 11:30am and she's almost asleep. I leave her iPod on very quietly.

While AJ naps I get some breakfast. Two soft boiled eggs, yoghurt with honey and raspberries, a muffin, and instant coffee. My hot instant coffee is one of my daily luxuries; I look forward to and savour it. It has to have cream in it; it's just not the same with milk. I start reading an article in Scientific American on the invention of neural computer memory (or whatever it's called.)

12:16, AJ is waking up. I'm still working on breakfast, so I bring her into the living room and sit her on the swing. I look at her and talk to her. The article is never finished.

When I finish breakfast AJ still seems happy in the swing, so I get the laptop to do some computer stuff. I do one or two "useful" tasks, then check Facebook, and torthúil, and a couple of blogs, because you know the whole internet is right there. AJ starts to fuss a bit, letting me know she's had enough of the status quo. Shortly before 1pm I take her to nursery and feed her from right boob. She stays on for about 30 minutes.

It's a beautiful day outside, so when she's done I start getting ready to go for a walk. I wanted to go yesterday but AJ had a fussy afternoon; she would fall asleep for a while, and then wake up angry/crying/screaming. She did this alternately all afternoon and it was pretty exhausting. I actually started to wonder if she was sick. But then at about 4pm she had a large poop and her mood improved markedly, so I'm guessing that was the issue.

Getting ready is a bit of a process. I change AJ's diaper and put her in a sweater (one her Baba knitted) and change into my jeans. Then she sits in the swing while I get the stroller outside. We have stairs at both doors, so it's a four step process. (I would like to use a baby carrier more, but I'm afraid of falling while there is ice and snow on the ground.)
  1. Carry chassis down the steps
  2. Carry baby seat down the steps and attach to stroller
  3. Put baby into stroller
  4. Go back inside house and set the alarm. (I have to do it with the door closed, which I don't like because it means AJ is alone outside. Only for a couple of seconds, but still.)
Today I get as far as step one and AJ poops noisily. So abort mission, change diaper. 2:15, we're finally both outside and ready to go. It occurs to me that I kind of have to pee, but I don't want to leave AJ outside or take her back in the house, so I decide to just go for the walk anyway. 

AJ is awake and happy for most of the walk. It's an amazingly warm day with some sun and cloud. I see the usual senior citizens/dog walkers in the neighbourhood, and toward the end of our walk, school buses and kids and moms hanging around. I manage to extend it to an hour and a quarter.

Back at home I see AJ's Lammily doll has arrived, so I put her back in the swing and open the package and show her. I leave the doll in the box, but luckily it opens up so that you can see and touch her, because I'm curious. She is beautifully made. I muse on how AJ might react to her one day. Maybe she'll like her or maybe she won't because all her friend have Barbies and her doll is "different." I find myself imagining some dramatic future crisis involving peer pressure. AJ starts acting hungry so back to the present moment it is.

After I feed her, it's shortly after 4 and time to start dinner, so I move the swing to the kitchen and put her in it so she can watch. She's happy with this for a while but soon starts to fuss. She's been in the swing a lot today and is probably bored with it. I hurry as fast as I can to get the casserole in the oven, and manage it just short of meltdown. I cuddle AJ and walk around the house, and in a few minutes she's asleep. I actually manage to get her into the crib without waking up, and then I have a few minutes to clean up the mess I made in the kitchen. I feel quite pleased that I have actually managed to have dinner ready when Mr. Turtle comes home. This is one of my domestic fantasies and one that I don't usually manage to fulfill. (Mr. Turtle, incidentally, doesn't care when dinner is.)

Speaking of Mr. Turtle, he comes home around 5:30. We greet each other then seeing AJ is asleep, he lies down for a nap as well. I realize the one thing I haven't got to is pumping, so I do that for the next ten minutes. At about six AJ and Mr. Turtle wake up. We eat at the dining room table, and AJ is back in the swing, and of course after five minutes she's had enough of it. But I've shoved food into my face eaten efficiently so I take her and nurse again while Mr. Turtle finishes. I think we manage to have a something of a conversation while this is going on.

Today I have my stepdance class, so Mr. Turtle takes AJ and I get ready as fast as I can, and then sit on the couch and pump some more until Carpool Lady gets here. Dance class is 7 to 8, my one hour (and a half with commute) to myself a week. Today Carpool Lady tells me about her stepdaughter who has had a baby prematurely via emergency c-section. Due to various complications with mom and baby, they are in different hospitals, which is obviously very hard on the mom (and probably baby, too).

I offer compassion and reassurance, while thinking yet again about how random life, including the pregnancy / birth process is and how things can go sideways so easily. One reason I was very interested in Ina May and natural childbirth toward the end of my pregnancy was because I was desperate for another narrative, for assurance that things could actually go right. But of course there are no guarantees and the more experience I get, the more personal these stories feel, even if they are not happening to me.  I think the biggest difference between myself now and five years ago is I no longer believe that difficult or tragic things only happen to other people.

Anyway. I am confident that this family will be OK in the end, and I'm glad both Carpool Lady and I have the opportunity to go to dance class. I really enjoy focusing on learning our dances, and the fast pace and the exertion. Toward the end I'm almost lost in the music and the rhythm of the shoes, and I feel both energized and peaceful.

When I get home again shortly after 8pm, AJ is napping and Mr. Turtle fills me in. She drank all the 40mL I pumped for her. AJ has been able to take her bottle successfully the past few times (rap wood). I have a quick shower and then take over while Mr. Turtle goes downstairs to work on his graduate studies.  AJ wakes up from her nap and tools around in her crib. We giggle and tickle and talk for a while, then eventually I take out the computer to do some final things for the presentation I'm doing tomorrow (the second of two for teachers' conventions). AJ tools around on her own. There's always one more thing to do, it seems. I think I sometimes procrastinate doing a lot of things because I no longer believe it's possible to finish any task.

9:45pm, Mr. Turtle comes upstairs saying he needs a break from studying, so we put the kettle on for tea and cut two pieces of pie. This is almost a daily ritual. We don't always have pie, but it's better with pie. I change AJ's diaper and put her in a sleeper. We all go downstairs and sit on the couch and watch comedy on TV, while I feed AJ. After she's done I eat tea and pie and Mr. Turtle plays with her for a while. At 10:30 it's time for him to study some more, so I go back upstairs with AJ and put her in a sleep sack. She still seems a bit hungry so I feed her again. She is awake but relaxed when I'm done, so I put her in the bedside bassinet.

I brush my teeth and get ready for bed, but don't feel like sleeping quite yet. I'm a bit preoccupied by tomorrow: in the morning Mr. Turtle has to take my car to be inspected (it's an import so bureaucracy blah blah) and I'm taking "his" car to the doctor to get a mole checked out.* At 11am I will leave for the convention centre by taxi to give my presentation.** I plan all the steps out in my head, even taking out the clothes I plan to wear. This is something I do a lot these days: I'm always thinking three steps ahead. I am sure this will be the case until AJ is old enough to be independent, so I might as well get used to it! Sometimes I feel like I'm not living in the moment and I miss spontaneity, but I think that as I adjust to parenthood I will find ways to be spontaneous again.

I boil the bottles and pumping equipment, hoping I have time to pump tomorrow so Mr. Turtle can give AJ a bottle. We have milk in the freezer but I always try to have fresh available if I know it will be needed. I put away some more laundry; Mr. Turtle's this time. I leave mine in the basket because I don't want to disturb AJ by opening my dresser.

* The mole was normal.
** The presentation went well.

When that's done I open up the computer to work on this entry. Maybe I will at least get my day in the life post done! (I started one last week but I didn't get it done and then I didn't feel like finishing one that was a week old lol.) I write till around midnight (checking on a now-sleeping AJ every 15 minutes). At that point Mr. Turtle comes upstairs to go to bed and so I do too.

And, well, that's my day. I slept well and the next one went well too, and then a very good weekend followed too. But that's another story....always another story. For now, I'll sign off....and thanks for reading. Wishing everyone a good week!

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Love in your future / I'll wait for you there

It's a year since our lightning strike.

(This post may have triggers. Mainly for me, but possibly for others too. If you don't want to read about pregnancy or see photos or video about it, best give it a miss.)

Counting her existence from her embryonic state, AJ has been part of our lives for more than a year, but we didn't know it until February 17th, 2014. It seems so astonishing now. That I was ignorant of something so important for about three whole weeks.

Other than actually peeing on the stick and seeing the result, here's what stands out for me most about that Monday. (It was Family Day in my province, appropriately enough.)

It was a cloudy day. Mr. Turtle and I were driving to an art gallery to pick up a poster of his that we had had custom framed. Since the house had been burgled a few weeks before, we were making a particular effort to decorate our space and "own" it again.

In the absence of a period, I'd been going back and forth on whether or not to take a pregnancy test. It was a toss up between (most likely) getting another BFN and the weirdness of not knowing for sure. As we were driving in the car, Roseanne Cash's song "50 000 Watts of Common Prayer" came on the radio. I'd never heard it before, but something about it stuck in my head and it fit my mood. As I listened to that song, I decided that yes, I would test when we got home. Something about it gave me resolve. Months later, when I looked up the song and the lyrics, I found them oddly appropriate to our journey.

Shockingly, when I took the test later that day it showed I was pregnant. I knew in that moment that whatever the outcome, life had changed irrevocably. And the rest is....history.  The rest is the present moment, now.

We had our parents over for dinner that Monday evening. We had a fun time, but we didn't tell anyone. We would wait to have it confirmed by a doctor. By the next weekend all the family would know, although there would be no cute "reveals." The pregnancy was confirmed on a Thursday, and on Friday I had bleeding. My "announcement" was "I think I'm having a miscarriage. This is the worst weekend of my life." Then later: "Well, maybe not just yet, but it could go either way."

I still can't remember February 17th with unalloyed happiness, because of the chaos that followed and all the anxiety. And I can't go back in time and tell myself that it's OK, everything will be alright. But I wanted to acknowledge this day with something positive and beautiful.

Back at the beginning of October I mentioned that we had gone for a maternity photo shoot, and had a great experience. Because we waited till week 37, we didn't receive the photos until after AJ was born. They are beautiful, but at that point they were a bit of an anti-climax, so I didn't share them. I think that now is a good time to share them.

I did a photo montage with Cash's song. I also included a few other photos from the year, to fill things out. There's no way photos can tell a whole story, but Mr. Turtle likes to take photos of me with a funny looks on my face, not just smiles, so those symbolize the ambiguous feelings I experienced. He even took a photo of me with acupuncture needles.

I associate Johnny Cash with our honeymoon. On the day we arrived in Arizona, we drove north through the sunset, listening to "Ring of Fire" and other songs. I remember the saguaros silhouetted against the sky as we drove into the darkness and our unknown but exciting future. So it feels right to me that the song I associate with our daughter was written by Johnny Cash's daughter.

This is hardly my most polished media project, but I'm proud of myself for getting it done during AJ's naps!

And. If you watch all the way to the end, there is some very special video of me and AJ. 

I wish for everyone that there is love in your future (and your present), too.

Now I think I'll put on the song and dance AJ around the room.

Saturday 14 February 2015


Yesterday I did my presentation with my colleague, and AJ stayed home with a babysitter for the first time.

It went well!

I did actually sleep the night before. (Mr. Turtle says he was restless, however.) I think I had been worrying and wondering so much in the weeks before I had no energy left for more anxiety. My friend arrived at about 11 and we walked through the house and talked about any final questions. AJ was in a good mood. Ten minutes before I left I fed AJ, then I did a quick goodbye (thanks for that advice). I took a cab since parking downtown is very difficult, and there are no spaces at the park and ride, and I did not want to be bothered with buses. The cab driver was chatty which helped to distract me on the ride there.

When I got to the convention centre I was able to focus my mind on the presentation. I think this is a skill I've learned as a teacher: to be in the moment and give my full attention to what is going on in front of me. Even though it's been a few months since I've talked to a group I was able to use that skill. Of course it helped a lot that my colleague was there; we could reflect each other's energy. We had some technical issues (of course!) even though I tried so hard to prepare so that we wouldn't. But the connector I bought for the laptop didn't work. We improvised until the tech support fellow could bring us another laptop that could connect to the projector.  Luckily, as part of my over-preparedness I had also brought a memory stick with our files on it, so he just plugged that into the new computer.  Always anticipate technical difficulties and over-prepare!

 I wasn't able to call home to see how AJ and my friend were doing till about two hours and forty-five minutes after I left them. When my friend answered the phone, all I was listening for was panicked screaming. When I heard silence I knew it was probably OK! and it was. AJ had played a bit, then napped, and now she was giving hunger cues and my friend was preparing to feed her.

I went back to my workshop, but at this point we were pretty much done. After our presentation we had offered to stay to help anyone who wanted to work in small groups, but nobody wanted to stay much later, although a few did hang back to ask questions. I admit I was quite happy about this! I could get home quicker without feeling guilty about leaving my colleague alone to finish. The presentation was well received and several people said they found it helpful, so that is good to hear; I feel like it was probably worth the effort although it was a lot of effort!

I caught a cab home and the drive home was the worst part of the day. It was bumper to bumper rush hour traffic, so terribly slow and I got motion sick from all the starting and stopping. I'm sure the adrenaline crash and the fact I hadn't eaten since breakfast didn't help. It was also a warm day and I was sticky with sweat.

When I got home AJ was napping again and I debriefed with my friend.  My friend said that her impression was that AJ was not completely relaxed; that she knew things were different from usual. However, AJ seemed to decide it was no big deal and she was willing to put up with my friend hahaha. She drank about 50mL from the bottle and had two short naps. To me those two things prove that she was quite happy and at ease.

I give my friend a lot of credit as I think she truly enjoyed being with AJ and tried very hard to make their time together pleasant. She read the "manual" and followed all the tips and routines in there, but also modified things when it made sense so that they worked for her. Since AJ isn't on a "schedule" (although getting more predictable) it's important to follow her cues and my friend was very good at this. And she even did little extra things, such as bringing her own favourite childhood CD and playing it for AJ. Apparently AJ enjoyed the "Banana Boat" song the best, especially the line "lift six foot seven foot eight foot BUNCH!" which made her chuckle and grin every time. I will have to put it on her iPod.

AJ woke up in time to "say goodbye" to my friend, and to do a whole lot of cute things to show she was happy to see me.  She is using a lot of sounds, vowels and syllables now, interspersed with gurgles, snorts and spit bubbles. She also does this adorable "happy crunch" where she smiles, coos, and pulls her knees into her chest making herself into a ball. It's like she's bursting with happiness and excitement.

I was still feeling shaky and nauseated, and then when the nausea passed so hungry I stuffed anything in sight into my mouth. I fed AJ a couple of times then she fell asleep in my arms. I had missed her so I let her stay there to cuddle - perhaps a mistake! I don't know if she had a bad dream or what but she woke up wailing and then proceeded to have a full on meltdown for fifteen minutes. She calmed down a couple of minutes before Mr. Turtle walked in the door, and then she was fine!

Although it was a lot of worry and planning and preparation and over-thinking, I am glad that we were able to leave AJ with a sitter and it went well because now I know it can be done. Of course future times may go differently but at least the first time was encouraging! I feel good about myself although I was completely exhausted afterwards. Too exhausted even to take out my computer! (Perhaps it was the bright lights of the LCD projector and the big screen, but I felt like a computer screen would have been sensory overload). After a night's sleep I'm feeling more myself, but I have to wonder what it will feel like if/when I do go back to work, because this experience, though positive, felt like it took every last bit of mojo.  Still, it did feel good to recapture a bit of my professional identity. AJ is my world but that part of my life is still important. (So many "buts" and "althoughs" and "stills"!)

I am grateful that Friday the 13th did no live up to its superstitious reputation. And happy Valentine's Day.

Thursday 12 February 2015

Blogging Cupid

Mel at Stirrup Queens started a Valentine's Day thingie (I can't think of the right word). Here's how it works:

  • Choose 5 blogs at random.
  • Throw up a post with a sentence about what you love about each one.
  • Tell those people to consider themselves tagged.
  • Go to Mel's Valentine's Day Post and put up a link to your post (a direct link to the post, not the main URL of your blog).  Keep checking the blog posts on the list to collect your valentines in case you miss the person’s post.  This list closes at 11:59 pm ET on the 14th.
Here's my 5:

  1. In Quest of a Binky Moongee - because I really appreciate Isabelle's candor, humility and she just comes across as such a nice person. 
  2. Mine to Command - for the logical, analytic perspective
  3. Tiggy's Den - enjoy the humour and the cat stories!
  4. Invincible Spring - because beautiful writing, incredible story and again, Sadie just comes across as an wonderful human being
  5. Mom Spelled Backwards - because hillarious
Happy Valentines Day! I would have liked to include the password protected blogs, but it would be kind of hard to make it work. So sending out virtual candy to everyone who is password protected!

Also a shout out to Romy, who does not have a blog but reads and comments here. She recently had twin boys and I am super excited for her!

Read more on Mel's Valentine's Day Post

Tuesday 10 February 2015

A (cold) day in the life of....

(Note: This post was offline for more than a year because at the time I wrote it, I never finished it. I ended up publishing this post instead. I read this post again in February of 2016 - how much changes in a year! - and decided it deserves to be out there, finished or no.)

So, Sensitive Ginger among other bloggers inspired me to do A Day in the Life post.

The day was Monday, February 10th.

Here goes.

3:31 to 4:00ish AM: AJ and I wake up to feed. She has slept about 4 1/2 hours. AJ sleeps in the Halo Bassinest by the side of our bed. I love it, and am not looking forward to when she outgrows it, which she's going to do soon. By some mutual agreement we wake up together (can't remember exactly how it happened). She feeds from left boob, has a diaper change, and then right boob. Back to sleep we go. AJ has full belly, boobs are empty, all happy.

~7:00am: Mr. Turtle says goodbye to me before leaving for work. Fall back asleep. Sometime later AJ partly wakes me up by squirming and farting. I figure she probably isn't too hungry yet so opt to just go back to sleep. After a while she does too.

9:20: Both of us definitely awake and rested now. My first thoughts on waking up: Mr. Turtle's colleagues gave us a Target gift certificate and we still haven't used it, and now Target Canada is selling out. Crap. It doesn't appeal to me at all to shop the going out of business sales, but I guess we'll have to because I don't want to waste it.

I also remember what I was thinking about when I went to sleep: the best month to get pregnant again (October or November, FYI.) Being an urban legend I live in two realities: in one, I may not be able to get pregnant again ever. In the other, maybe I can and the perfect scenario is possible.  It's weird.

I get up, look at AJ, feel the usual amazement and awe (I won't say relief) that she is real, alive, here with us. She eats from right boob. Put her in her crib in the nursery where she chills out and sucks her thumb. Check the weather online to see how I should dress her. The weather is cold, -11C, but with a high of -1C so it might warm up. I opt for the knitted overalls one of my friends made her, so she'll be warm if we go outside.  I check a couple of blogs, because the whole internet is right there.

Sponge bath time! AJ enjoys her wash, smiles and talks, and does her best to eat the blanket/washcloth/soap/her fingers.

After dressing, back into the crib for back and forth raspberries, smiles, tickles.

I have a shower with the door open. When done hurry out (still in the nude) to check on AJ in the crib. She is drowsy. I throw in a load of laundry. By 10:48, AJ is asleep.

I make breakfast, scrambling the last 3 eggs and having them with toast and instant coffee. The hot instant coffee is one of my daily luxuries; I look forward to it. I am between new books, so I get Alice Munro's collected stories Too Much Happiness from downstairs. Canadian writer and Nobel prize winner Munro was one inspiration for AJ's name. But I end up reading the Baby Day by Day book instead.

When I do open Too Much Happiness some days later, I realize that the first story is about a woman whose husband murders her children. Before parenthood I could read stuff like this with no more than mild, even titillating shock. I could accept without much inner rebellion that sometimes the plot of the story, fictional or real, involves the death of a child. Now I don't want to accept that, and feel almost physically sick thinking of how fragile AJ's precious  body is, that people exist who would snuff the life out of it. But I'm still grateful for all the years of reading Alice Munro.  Her stories are a kind of emotional inoculation, a reminder that things are not most often not what they seem and that sentimentality can be very dangerous.

When breakfast is done I go back to the nursery and check the internets again while AJ sleeps. 11:30, AJ wakes up happy. She watches me quietly while I work some more on the computer. By 11:45 however, she is grumbling and tell me she is bored. So I take her into the living room and prop her up with the baby buddy pillow. She stares at the dishes in the credenza, so I take them out and show them to her. She smiles.

AJ talks to me while chewing on her fingers. At 11:55 she has a big poop. One of many diaper changes. Using disposable today because the cloth diapers are downstairs drying.

Back to the mat on the floor. I set the bottle and breast pump parts to boil, and put some music on the CD player. I read AJ an alphabet book. She pays attention politely like a good student.

I give her some toys next. She uses 2 hands to hold her soft rattle and bring it up to her mouth. She doesn't hold on to it for more than a few seconds at this point.

12:30, I do some more stuff on the computer. Check the weather again. It is still cold so no walk today for us. I resolve to get as many things done today as I can, instead. The fact that I am doing this day in the life report is motivating. AJ is mellow and hangs out on the pillow amusing herself.

At 1:00 AJ fusses with hunger so we go to nursery and she eats from left boob. The CD has finished and the house is quiet, which makes me feel a bit pensive. I think about returning to work in the fall. I feel a stab of sadness and disbelief when I think about it.  It seems so soon, so much to give up. And yet it occurs to me that I have never seriously considered not going back to work. I should probably ask myself why. It is not as simple as we need the money and my benefits package. Of course those things are nice to have, but they might not be enough reason on their own. The truth is that I am very afraid of becoming isolated. I'm afraid that I'll become unemployable and disconnected from the larger life of the world if I stay away from work. I have felt that way at times in my life and it was horribly depressing. I have had some challenging years in my life. But if I had to choose an unpleasant year to live over again, I would choose any of the hardest times of my life over the times I was unemployed.

1:25, I detach AJ and offer her the other boob, but she is too sleepy to take it. Into the crib. Wakes up. Out again, takes right boob this time, but only for about 3 minutes.

I put her back in the crib, where she is quite happy.  She watches me while I pump right and left boob. We do back and forth smiles and raspberries, and she does her baby crunches.

****Post was left unfinished***

Monday 9 February 2015

#Microblog Mondays: Who said babies don't come with a manual?

AJ has a manual. It is about 12 pages, 20 point font, and includes pictures and video.

OK, I didn't receive the manual when she was born. But her babysitters will be expected to read it all hahahaha.

Not surprising really. I am after all the  teacher who writes ~2 pages of sub plans for every hour that I'm away.  What did you expect I would do when leaving my daughter with someone?!

My inspiration was this site which lists info to leave with a babysitter. Apart from the fairly obvious stuff, there's also helpful tips such as a reminder to write down what the child is wearing, in case she is lost or kidnapped, and what you are wearing if the police need to find you. In other words, details that make a person like me go: "OMG! I totally didn't think of that! Thank goodness someone mentioned it!!"

All of this planning and thinking makes me a bit nostalgic for those early, raw days of motherhood when the world was just AJ and I, and nothing else needed to be planned for or imagined. When I wouldn't leave her for any reason but to catch a few hours of sleep. When every successful feeding was a victory and we logged every pee and poop. Where our time together still felt eternal and the curtain between this existence and the world beyond was fluttering in the wind.

On the other hand, I do want AJ and I to be part of the bigger world, so I'm not really sorry to be taking these steps to be something more than a stay at home mom, even if only for a couple of hours. I'll have a lot of stress-sweat this week and likely lose a few more pounds of baby weight, not to mention sleep. But I'll do what I have to do anyway, because AJ's sweet life is a constant reminder that life is about embracing who we are becoming.

Monday 2 February 2015

#MicroBlog Mondays: Anxieties old and new

First, the good:

I think it's finally sinking in, on an deep emotional level, that I was pregnant and had a baby and nothing bad happened.  After the bleeding episode last year, I sort felt like I was living two lives: in one life I'd lost or was always about to lose the baby, while paradoxically in the other, everything was going fine. Some days I'd wake up living one life, sometimes the other. Lately, it feels like I'm able to actually accept that everything turned out and is OK. I can recall stuff that happened without the terrible sinking feeling of horror, rage and grief I used to feel. I just feel.....neutral.  I guess it took a year?

On the other hand...

Sometimes, usually when I'm contemplating something I haven't done before as a parent, I get paralyzing, heart stopping anxiety. Such as the first time I planned to drive alone with AJ. Luckily with some support and practice I seem to have gotten over that and we drive around regularly. There are so many advantages like being able to run errands, go to mom and baby yoga and visit my parents regularly.

The latest thing that's making me anxious is the prospect of leaving AJ with a babysitter for the first time. The story is, last year my colleague and I taught a session at teachers' convention. It was well received and we decided to do it again this year; actually we applied to and were accepted at two conventions. We also planned the session to be twice as long so that we could have time to workshop with people. At the time I was pregnant and having  baby and arranging childcare was all very abstract; I just assumed things would work out.

Fast forward to now with the sessions coming up in two weeks. For the second one Mr. Turtle will be home with the day off, so not a problem, hopefully. The first session though I need to arrange something. I'd assume initially that my parents would step up, but now my mom has surgery scheduled for that week so she is out. Luckily, one of my close friends offered to watch AJ if I needed it. She does not have her own children but has nieces/nephews and is a trustworthy person with common sense. So on a lot of levels I am fine with this and I'm researching all the info you need to leave with a babysitter (She be getting a full manual on AJ, of course....). On another level I'm like can I even consider doing this????!!!!!

Some of it is specific concerns, like will AJ accept a bottle from someone who isn't a parent (she barely accepts it from Mr. Turtle, and then only with major coaxing) and if not how can I work around her feedings. (I've already told my colleague, with some guilt/regret, that I'll be most likely leaving the session early. She is very understanding and I'm hoping that many of our attendees don't want to stay to the end is the last session on a Friday.)  And I'm trying to think how can I make the situation as safe and pleasant as possible for both AJ and my friend. Sometimes I feel quite confident that I can deal with this. Other times, my mind starts to run on terrible things that could go wrong, because somebody makes a mistake, or just....because.

At the same time I know if I'm really going to go to work again in the fall, I need to practice being away, because there's no way I'll just be able to to leave AJ cold turkey.

Any advice or tips from moms on leaving baby with someone, things I should be thinking of?

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